Medivir’s research and development focuses on the development of new cancer drugs through the application of the company’s expertise in protease inhibitor design and nucleoside/nucleotide science.
Medivir focuses on cancers of high unmet medical need, where existing therapies are not very successful and there is a great opportunity to provide real benefit to patients who have few treatment options. The choice of the tumour type of focus will vary greatly depending on the individual project and the activity and role of drug targets in different cancer types, and sub-populations of cancer patients within one type that expects to respond well to treatments. Some cancer types of particular interest to Medivir include hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCL), solid tumours and high-grade serous carcinomas (ovarian cancers), which are all highly aggressive diseases with poor treatment options and very low overall survival rates on the best current treatments today.
Medivir approaches to cancer drug discoveryFigure: Medivir’s approaches to the discovery of novel anticancer drugs. While cancer represents a large number of diseases that are characterized by aberrant cellular proliferation, there is an increasing recognition that cancers are characterized a number of common features, which Hanahan and Weinberg have termed the hallmarks of cancer (Hanahan and Weinberg, Cell (2011), 144, 646–674). Medivir’s approaches to the discovery of novel anticancer drugs is based on its core scientific platforms of nucleoside and nucleotide science, and protease inhibitor design. Nucleotides target processes that are essential for the sustained replication of the cancer cell’s genetic material. Proteases are involved in a number of other processes that are essential to initiate and sustain tumour growth. The areas in which Medivir has active projects are highlighted in the figure.